In 2017 we’ve been living through a lot of turmoil and public crisis, from the Syrian situation, all the refugees, and fervor over undocumented aliens, to the Presidential election from hell (no matter which side you were on, it was an emotionally bloody seemingly never-ending battle). There’s been rioting and protesting in the streets almost more often than not since the election more than two months ago. Social media battles seem to be more and more heated, and honestly, a good portion of the nation just seems to want a peaceful place to land and recover. We are in a state of empathy fatigue, or as some are saying, “My give a darn is all used up.”
So for those charitable organizations that deal with these types of crisis… it’s not hard to imagine that their “give a darn” is under many feet of water and held fast with large cement blocks of weariness. But the needs are even greater than ever for many of them, and getting people to care when so many are just caught up in fighting to be heard makes it so much more difficult. Well, this is the time to bring in a pro for those organizations: a PR pro… cue the two caped crusaders with a giant “PR” on their chests. They can make all the difference in moving forward and getting back that vital “give a darn.”
Here’s What PR Can Help Accomplish
Keeping the Stories Personal and Short
Tell as much of the story as possible in a picture or 15-30 second video. Think of those brief clips you’ve seen in the last couple of years that brought emotion and tears to your eyes. Military parents (or children) arrive as a surprise for a special occasion. Have your tears joined the ones of people on the screen? Odds are they have.
Did you see the one about a disabled vet who had not been able to walk for several years and had gained a lot of weight? He found a yoga workout program and did it, no matter how many times he fell down, he got up, he kept getting up for months until he was much thinner and able to walk on his own. That’s a personal story, a victory story. Telling a story without a personal level of connection can become overwhelming or off-putting to people.
Show the Outcome
If people can’t see what will happen because of their donations, they probably won’t donate. Unless they are already fully converted to the cause and the organization, they need to see what a difference they are making and can continue to make. Preparing the stories, the results, and the paperwork that proves their money and efforts actually go where you say is a big part of the process, and PR specialists can help make all of that more professional and effective.
Once you’ve converted a donor to the cause, deepen the relationship. That’s not to say you should constantly be throwing your hand out to them. Show gratitude; send a thank you note with a picture of their service or a person who benefited. Send a birthday greeting and respect their privacy by not sharing their information with other organizations. Yes, they can use some help, but too often when people make a contribution to a cause, it seems like 50 more causes send a request to that person within just a few months. Making a buck by selling that information is short-term thinking. One exception is if there is some booklet or donor wall, include them there, but only if they are agreeable.
Don’t Stop with Online Efforts
Yes, online giving is a good source, but it should not be a charity’s only approach. This is where PR experts can make another huge difference. They can help plan an event, find influencers to bring others to the charity, get stories placed in social and regular media, and more.
If your charitable efforts are falling behind, check with a PR firm in your area. Many of them will do work with charities they believe in for a reduced fee, or often for nothing. Give them a reason to believe and let them make their charitable contribution in kind.